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Leone's 'A Fistful Of Dollars' is a bona fide western classic, but amazingly he managed to top himself with this "sequel". Yeah, I know it isn't REALLY a sequel. In fact Leone's "Dollars" trilogy actually have no connection with each other, and Eastwood's so-called "Man With No Name" actually has many! (In this movie Monco, in the previous one Joe). Most people seem go for 'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly' as the best of the three movies, but I think 'For A Few Dollars More' just beats it. Anyway, there's no argument that they are three brilliant films, Eastwood is super cool in all of them, Leone is on top form, particularly in this one, and Ennio Morricone's scores are amazing stuff. 'For A Few Dollars More' is helped enormously by Lee Van Cleef playing Colonel Mortimer, and the scenes between him and Eastwood, and the ones between him and Klaus Kinski are pure gold. This is not only one of the best westerns ever made, but one of the best movies of any genre released in the 1960s. It was also a highly influential one. I can't imagine Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch' for example existing without Leone. Words fail me praising movies as brilliant as this one. All I can say is WATCH IT NOW. Or if you've already seen it WATCH IT AGAIN!
As the second of the three films legendary filmmaker Sergio Leone
collaborated on with Clint Eastwood (not to mention his first with Lee
Van Cleef and his second with 'Fistful' actor Gian Maria Volonte), For
a Few Dollars More gets well earned respect from the fans of the
director and the groundbreaking star. And yet, occasionally there are
those who'll not even know this film from Leone and Clint exists since
it does sometimes get under the shadow of their two most infamous
works, Fistful of Dollars (which for the most part introduced Clint and
Leone to the public's awareness) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
(which solidified Clint as a Western icon and gave Leone a similar
status for film buffs). But taken as a film unto itself, aside from its
place in the trilogy, this is a Western that simply delivers the goods,
and it does so with a spectacular marriage of style and substance.
The story begins by introducing our two (anti) heroes, bounty hunters Douglas Mortimer (Cleef), former Colonel, and Monco (Eastwood), a drifter. They both set their sights on the leader of a gang of bandits named Indio (Volonte), who is plotting to go after over a million locked in a bank in El Paso. At first, Monco and Mortimer seem like their after Indio for the same reason- reward money- though there seems to be more than each man counted on with him and his gang.
From the opening scenes with Cleef and Eastwood, to the scenes in El Paso, and then into the set pieces in the stone ruins in the Mexico desert(s), For a Few Dollars More displays the utmost skill by Leone in his storytelling, as well as in his use of the camera. Using Fistful's camera-man Massimo Dallamano, Leone does what he does best in his spaghetti westerns- he creates a perfectly in sync mood with his characters: each look in a scene, whether it's intense waiting for guns to be drawn, or just regular conversation, the look of the film draws the viewer in without over-doing it. Some points are made bold or repetitious (like Ennio Morricone's score, that keeps its whistling theme and serene watch theme completely in check), though it's not done to any degree of annoyance or by accident.
In fact, that's what makes his westerns such fun, is that you take them seriously as films, yet he always reminds you that it's all in the 'movie-world' just by the way Mortimer or Monco strikes up a match. As for the actors themselves, Eastwood and Cleef are total pros in this genre, so ever line of dialog comes out naturally, and the supporting actors (however dubbed over from original Italian) all contribute great notes as well. At the least, it can appeal to a new generation of kids looking back to older movies, which may look at this and consider it more modernly crafted than a John Ford oldie. A+
Italian director Sergio Leone changed the face of the Western genre in
1964 when he introduced what would be known as the "Spaghetti Western"
with the brilliant "Per un Pugno di Dollari" ("A Fistful of Dollars").
Not only the films looked grittier, violent and realistic; the
characters in Leone's westerns became complex men with complex and
obscure moral codes, very far away from the classic clear moral
opposites of previous westerns. "Per Qualche Dollaro in più" ("For a
few dollars more"), is the epitome of all this. It is a powerful, raw
and ruthless masterpiece that transcended its genre and became one of
the best movies of all-time.
"For a Few Dollars More", the second in the so-called "Dollars trilogy" (a group of films by Leone with the same style), is the story of two different yet very similar men, Manco (Clint Eastwood) and the Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) are two bounty hunters who are after the criminal named "El Indio" (Gian Maria Volontè). An unlikely alliance occurs between the two lone wolves as they decide to cooperate and divide the reward, but are these two killers after "Indio" for the same reason?
Written by Fulvio Morsella and Sergio Leone himself, the film's main characteristic is the complex moral code the main characters follow. They are no longer the perfect clean heroes of classic westerns, both Manco and the Colonel have well-developed attitudes, motivations and purposes; they are neither completely good nor completely bad, they are just real. The story unfolds with a fine pace and good rhythm, it is probably the best structured of the "Trilogy" and the easiest to follow. It is also the one that represents the elements of the Spaghetti Western style the best.
Stylistically, the film follows closely the conventions established by Leone's previous film but it takes them to the next level. The excellent use of minimalistic cinematography and the superb musical score by Ennio Morricone complement Leone's realistic vision of Westerns and completely redefined the genre's conventions. "For a Few Dollars More" is a violent tale of two hunters, and visually the film transmits the same emotions the characters feel. No more myths, the Westerns never felt this real.
Clint Eastwood's super performance as Manco is very important for the success of the film, as he is the one that takes the audience through this brave new world, however, the star of the film is Lee Van Cleef as Colonel Mortimer. In one of his best performances ever, Van Cleef manages to be both menacing and interesting, giving life to Leone's brilliant script with great talent. Gian Maria Volontè as Indio complements the two big talents as the crazed criminal with a dark past, he is the perfect counterpart of the two lone wolves.
"Per qualche dollaro in più" is a near flawless movie, as every piece of the puzzle falls into the right place to create a marvelous and unforgettable picture. It's only minor problem may be the dubbing, but fortunately, it still is superior to the one heard in other Italian productions of the same time and it doesn't hurt the film.
Fans will always argue about which of the three films of the "trilogy" is the best, and while personally I prefer "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" over this one, it is just a matter of personal taste as this film is as perfect as that one. A real classic that changed the face of Western as we knew it. 10/10
"For a Few Dollars More" has become the template for which most Spaghetti
As Leone went along, his films got more daring and complex, exploring new ideas and raising not only the bar for Spaghetti Westerns (which, contrary to popular belief, were around before "A Fistful of Dollars") but for Westerns in general. However, this exploration at times affected the quality of his films. Leone was a popcorn director - a visual stylist who always entertained first and maybe provoked a thought or two second. However, his films were never think pieces so when he tried to integrate depth into his films the results became uneven.
"For a Few Dollars More" is his best film because it catches Leone in his most transitional period. At once the film is more complex and stylized than "A Fistful..." and more tight and efficient than "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly" (which is almost on par with "For a Few..."). The revenge sub-plot involving Colonel Mortimer is more compelling than the similar one in Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" because Mortimer is more developed as a character than the Harmonica Player (which is not to insult the great Charles Bronson).
And hell, it has Lee Van Cleef as one of the biggest bad-asses of all time. The mere presence of Colonel Douglas Mortimer elevates the film to a new level. He steals the film from "Manco" completely. And Van Cleef's theft of the film is what makes it a cut above "A Fistful...". As a character, "The Man With No Name" (who in actuality has three: Joe, Manco and Blondie) isn't very interesting and there always needs to be a counterpoint to play off of him. That's why "A Fistful..." isn't nearly as good as this film or "The Good..." (which had the great Eli Wallach in one of the best scenery munching performances ever).
So in closing, "For a Few..." is a tight masterpiece of fluff Western entertainment. It's mean, violent and immoral, just the way any good Spaghetti Western should be.
Excellent fun with sadistic humor from Leone. Eastwood's best performance in a Leone film. Van Cleef is good in a role similar to Chuck Bronson's in "Once Upon a Time in the West". He is menacing and sympathetic, whereas in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" he is just campy and all "bad guy" (but still fun). What makes both performances so memorable I think is that Van Cleef seems to be in touch with Leone's dark humor, where Eastwood is used as a straight man. Volonte is also excellent in the bandito role Leone used (an example of a standard European character type who reminds the audience of earthiness and the basic ignorance and greed of man). A much better film than most people who've seen it on a Saturday afternoon on TV probably realize -- you have to see these movies in the theater to get the full hit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"For A Few Dollars More" sees the return of the Stranger, the Man With
No Name, but this time he has a defined profession, as a bounty hunter
He is searching for a drug-addicted murderer, known as El Indio
The film opens with another bounty hunter, Colonel Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) arriving in the town of Tucumcari and with great coolness and precision killing one of his list of wanted men as the suspect attempts to flee Mortimer then goes to the saloon where he encounters No Name, who is calmly dispatching four men at a saloon No Name walks, in a leisurely manner, to the sheriff's office to collect the bounty on their heads Having established their mutual aims and equal talents, the two men decide to team up in pursuit of El Indio The murderer is portrayed as infinitely more evil than the two conscience-free professionals: he has a positive relish for killing
EI Indio is planning to rob the bank at El Paso, so the bounty hunters meet up there in order to waylay him During the discussion that leads up to the showdown, it is revealed in flashback that Mortimer has a personal score to settle with the villain Nothing is revealed about No Name's past in this conversation, and typically in keeping with the characterization, No Name infiltrates El Indio's gang
This continuing challenge to the Western myth of the perfect hero and the irredeemably evil villain was spelled out in words at the beginning of the film: 'Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price.'
Within this mayhem, Leone tried to stick to his new morality. 'I wanted to show that most heroes do what they do for money. I also wanted to prove that bad guys can sometimes have their good side. Al Capone, for instance, had a certain kind of humanity.'
"For a Few Dollars More" is the middle film of Sergio Leone's classic
western trilogy starring a then upstart Clint Eastwood. Sandwiched between
"A Fistful of Dollars" and the finale, "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly."
This film provides further insight into Eastwood's "Man with No Name."
Eastwood is a bounty killer who is in search of the feared bandit known as El Indio. Colonel Douglas Mortimer (played by Lee Van Cleef) is in a similar position, and the two cross paths many times in their pursuits of El Indio. The premise has similarities to that of the first, and in fact won't be all that surprising to most younger viewers. But at the time, the various plot turns and twists were unique and revolutionary.
The pace is both a pro and con at the same time. Unlike modern films, the usual western showdown scenes unfold very deliberately. Rather than simultaneously begin and end in a furious volley of bullets, the encounters are set up slowly. On the bright side, this gives both the characters and the viewers an opportunity to fully appreciate the choices made and the consequences that will follow. From a negative perspective (not mine), one might say that the gunfights are plain slow, and the action is too sparse. While I enjoyed the change of pace, I also understand why some will say otherwise. Others portions of "More" can hang with any western sequences ever put on film. Highlighting the action is a robbery scene, the creativity of which ranks with any modern heist out of "The Score" or "The Italian Job."
This trilogy catapulted Clint Eastwood to Hollywood fame, and one can see his star-making charisma ooze through the screen. Blending stoicism and machismo wonderfully, Eastwood produces the epitome of the tough and arrogant loner cowboy. In a role that could easily have been overshadowed, Van Cleef holds his own against Eastwood. His character was probably similar to Eastwood's in his youth, but Van Cleef accurately reflects the wisdom that would likely come with his character's age. The motley crew of baddies is filled with men who completely look their parts. That's about all that is asked of them, and they deliver.
The cinematography of "More" follows in the groundbreaking footsteps of "Fistful." While one might not notice anything revolutionary now, at the time shots like that had scarcely been seen. Shots like the low-angles utilized prior to a few shootouts, as well as the framing of space are all now staples of cinematic westerns, and they originated here.
Ennio Morricone's score is also a classic. Whether serving as epic background music for sweeping crane shots or providing aural cues during action sequences, the music is always appropriate and often the best part of the film.
Bottom Line: While it might not seem as great now, so much of this movie was groundbreaking and remains classic that it merits 8 of 10.
"For a Few Dollars More," the middle installment of the iconic Sergio
Leone/Clint Eastwood "Dollars" trilogy, is the most brutal of all three
films. Throughout the movie, ruthless bounty hunters, all of who seem to
have no respect for human life, often perform cold-blooded murders. The
bounty hunters use the "wild west" as a free range: they track, they kill,
and they collect.
One of these bounty hunters happens to be The Man with No Name (Eastwood), who returns to us now after his introduction in "A Fistful of Dollars," which was the first movie of the trilogy. (An interesting observation is that the "man with no name" actually does have a name in each installment -- here, his name is Manco, but this is a fact that is often forgotten.)
The Man with No Name/Manco is on a mission to find the criminal Indio (Gian Maria Volonté), whose capture is worth a large sum of money. It is quickly set up that local law enforcement is weak. Sheriffs are cowards. Only the vicious bounty hunters know how to drag in the criminals: dead or alive. Along for the journey is a fellow bounty hunter named Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), whose own reasons for seeking the man differ from Manco's. At first, the two killers go their own separate ways, and then decide to team up together and improve their chances of finding Indio -- despite the fact that their intentions for his capture are different.
Not only are the two men's intentions different, but also their methods. Mortimer is a ruthless, cold-blooded murderer whose self-confidence is revealed through his barbaric actions. Manco, the hero, is less of a murderer and more of a law enforcer. Leone quickly sets this up through a sequence of shots: Mortimer's introduction, for example, begins with his search for a criminal, which finally comes to a finish as Mortimer confronts the man (who is hiding in a brothel). His foe manages to escape through a window, leaping onto a horse and galloping away through town. The images that follow reveal an insight into Mortimer's own self-confidence and startlingly calm nature.
Manco's appearance is even more dramatic. He tracks down his own victim, and corners him in a saloon, only to see three cowboys appear out of nowhere and block off all exits. In one quick motion he swings around and fires three successive shots, each bullet finding its target.
Here it is established that Manco is an underdog; therefore, our story's hero. He isn't as ruthless as Mortimer (who mercilessly picks his prey off from a distance) and his actions are somewhat admirable. The cowboys who tried to kill him were the bad guys. Manco was the good guy.
Its lesser admirers often describe the film as being "too long". It's true that the film contains some unnecessary scenes, and these are often dragged out for dramatic effect -- but that is the point. The movie, directed by one of cinema's most ambitious and visionary directors (Sergio Leone, 1929 - 1989), is all about long passages of close-ups and wide-lense shots. Along with its predecessor and particularly its sequel, the "Dollars" trilogy revolutionized the derogatory "spaghetti western" description. In the years to come, Hollywood would actually aim to create films similar to the "Dollars" movies -- all of which were inferior. The entire "Dollars" trilogy has such scope, and ambition, that its Hollywood counterparts pale in comparison.
Leone's direction is magnificent and would later inspire -- of all people -- Quentin Tarantino (whose "Kill Bill" movies owe something to the "Dollars" trilogy). Long, wide lenses and extreme close-ups only accentuate the fear of the men. There is a particular sequence of shots that clips back and forth between Mortimer and a wanted notice pinned to the exterior of a building. Leone slowly builds up the back-and-forth shots until they burst into a pattern of super-speed images, distinctly closed with the sound of gunshots. It's this sort of blazing, distinct style that makes the film so infectious and enjoyable.
The acting cannot be criticized, although the English dubbing is sometimes rather laughable. Eastwood is one of the only actors whose voice is not dubbed -- but he rarely speaks. His face does all the talking. Lee Van Cleef (who was re-cast by Leone as a separate character in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly") manages to turn Mortimer into one of the quintessential bad guys of cinema. Although the dubbing can occasionally detract from the flow of scenes and dialogue, the two lead performances by Eastwood and Van Cleef more than compensate for this slight flaw.
Hollywood was cautious about releasing "Dollars." Eastwood, known for his role in the television series "Rawhide," was the only marketable star. The director was an unknown Italian with no commercial successes. As its predecessor before it, "For a Few Dollars More" was delayed release in the States, where it was deemed "unworthy."
However, the movie was a huge success in Italy, in particular; Clint Eastwood quickly gained a cult fan base overseas, but it was not until May 1967 -- after the US release of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" -- that "For a Few Dollars More" and its predecessor would open to critical accolade and deserved celebration in the United States. Now, almost forty years later, it's still a fascinating piece of classic cinema.
This movie is the second best western i have ever seen with The Good, The Bad, The Ugly being first. I disagree with someone who wrote that this movie is not as good as A Fistful of Dollars. This movie is way better than a fistful of dollars. The reason is (as i pointed out in my other post) is that Clint's role or character is better when he has a good supporting member because it gives Clint's character more depth as well as throw a wild card into the mix. Lee van clef is excellent in his role, i still have him labeled as the bad but it was surprising to see him play a good guy in this one. Both bounty hunters have their own styles which meshes really good on the screen. Gian had more depth to this one which played perfectly into Lee Van Clefs character. In a fistful of dollars Gian didn't have much depth at all and some of the characters were annoying. I like how leone tied all of the characters into each other in this one, having all of their stories somehow play a role in the other ones. If you haven't seen this movie i suggest you watch Leone's films in chronological order with A fistful of dollars first, this one second, and finish it off with the good the bad the ugly. You'll be glad you did.
One of my favorite movie lines of all time as spoken by Klaus Kinski upon recognizing Lee Van Cleef in the little cantina as the one who used his (Klaus') cheek to strike his match earlier in the movie. When Kinski ask if he "remember me, amigo," Van Cleef just reply "uh uh." To which he's asked to try that trick again, which prompts Van Cleef to utter another one of my all time lines - "I generally don't smoke 'til after I've eaten; why don't you come back in five minutes." Just typing this brings smiles to my face. I've been a Lee Van Cleef fan since High Noon (with Robert Wilke) and Kansas City Confidential (with Jack Elam and Neville Brand!) and this was/is the movie that made him a star. Granted it didn't last for long, but he did have his 15 minutes. This is my favorite Spaghetti Western, it was also my first (didn't see "Fistful" until much later - and Good, Bad, Ugly was a major disappointment - I wanted Van Cleef to play the same role). And the music, especially the pipe organ, just blows my mind. Highly enjoyable; think I'll go and watch it again.
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